In brief

  • A Nevada woman paid $5,000 in Bitcoin on the dark web to hire a hitman to shoot dead her husband, court documents allege.
  • But the website was a scam and the man was never murdered.
  • Authorities arrested the woman and indicted her this week.

A woman allegedly paid for her ex-husband to be murdered using Bitcoin on a dark web marketplace—but the website turned out to be a scam and authorities later arrested the defendant. 

Kristy Lynn Felkins, 36, of Fallon, Nevada, paid $5,000 in Bitcoin via the phoney website, which is no longer active, thinking she could hire a hitman, according to US District Court for the Eastern District of California documents unsealed this week. 

Federal investigators busted Felkins when they received a tip-off about the website. They traced her Bitcoin transactions to find the incriminating messages and arrest Felkins. 

The alleged murder plot started in 2016, the documents say. Felkins started speaking with someone on the website using Tor—a web browser used for accessing the dark web. The website told Felkins that in order to hide the transaction, she would have to launder the Bitcoin by trading it with different sellers on the peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace, LocalBitcoins.com

According to the documents, Felkins was skeptical about the scam website—and even asked at one point: “How do I know you are not FBI, they do have the capability to infect one's device and trace them back to their real IP. Just being cautious.”

But Felkins continued with the transactions, and sent 12 Bitcoins between March 6, 2016, and March 9, to have her ex-husband shot outside his workplace, the documents say. 

The documents allege that Felkins even asked if the murder could be made to look like a “mugging gone wrong”—though when told this would cost $4,000 more, she asked to just proceed with the plan to have her ex-husband shot. 

The scam website asked Felkins her reasons for the murder. She allegedly wrote, “This man mentally, physically, sexually and emotionally abused me. I ran, and then he took my children away from me. He now mentally abuses my children and threatens their physical well being. He is quite the snake and master manipulator.”

The website allegedly told Felkins that her husband couldn’t be found at the workplace. When she asked for proof that they had found his whereabouts, the website sent a dodgy photo of the location, the documents say. 

Felkins stopped communicating with the website—which is now shut down—in April, 2016. The authorities learned of the plot in 2019 and indicted Felkins on Thursday. The dark web has long been used for illicit activities, such as buying guns and drugs. But authorities are catching up with criminals using the network.